Press release from A&E, May 4, 2018:
In the series premiere of A&E Investigates “Cults and Extreme Belief,” A&E examines the timely topic of the “self-help” group NXIVM which has been catapulted into the spotlight with the recent arrest of its leader and a high-profile actress/member on charges of sex-trafficking and other crimes. The group also stands accused of drawing supporters down a path of destruction that includes near-starvation diets, forced branding, pseudo-slavery, and blackmail. Former members share harrowing experiences of manipulation and sexual violation, including Sarah Edmondson who sits down with Vargas to share new details of her ordeal inside the organization including being branded with a symbol that turned out to be the leader’s initials.
Additional organizations that will be explored in season 1 include Twelve Tribes, Sanctuary Church, United Nation of Islam, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witness and The Family. In each episode, Vargas will go on a search to uncover how these sects use their influence to prey upon people’s desperation to create powerful and often destructive belief systems. Each episode will take an immersive look at one currently active group through the eyes of past devotees and get perspective from believers and leaders that are still inside. The series kicks off with a two-night premiere on Monday, May 28 and Tuesday May 29 at 10pm ET/PT.
Immediately before the premiere of “Cults and Extreme Belief,” Vargas sits down with the Anthony family to hear their thoughts on the tragic death of their granddaughter Caylee 10-years ago and the role their daughter may have played in the 2-hour special “Casey Anthony’s Parents Speak.” Ten years after the tragic disappearance and mysterious death of three year old Caylee Anthony, her grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony, open up to Elizabeth Vargas about their lives. Interviewed at the home where they raised their daughter Casey and where they still live, George and Cindy sit with Vargas to dive deep into the years raising Casey, revealing the intimate and heartbreaking details of their lives a decade after everything went wrong. Along the way they revisit locations that have come to define their lives, including the woods where Caylee’s remains were found. And for the first time ever, cameras will follow as they shed light on the complicated truth about their relationship with each other and the tension surrounding their differing opinions about their notorious daughter, Casey. The special premieres on Monday, May 28 at 8pm ET/PT.
“Cults and Extreme Belief” is produced for A&E Network by The Intellectual Property Corporation. Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman executive produce for IPC along with executive producer/showrunner Alex Weresow and executive producer Rachelle Mendez. Elaine Frontain Bryant, Amy Savitsky and Evan Lerner serve as executive producers for A&E Network.
“Casey Anthony’s Parents Speak” is produced by York and Wilder for A&E Network. Matt Sprouse and Ben Shank are executive producers for York and Wilder. Steph Watts also serves as executive producer. Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro and Molly Ebinger are executive producers for A&E Network.